SUPERFOODS What You Need Right Now
“Superfoods are so-called because they contain, in general, more concentrated doses of nutrients than other foods. This makes them perfect to include in your diet when faced with a worldwide pandemic. Whilst there are a whole host of amazing superfoods available, here are five groups of superfoods that you need to introduce right now:
YOUR ALL-IN-ONE: MORINGA & SPIRULINA
We’re a HUGE fan of all of the green foods at Lifestyle Health, and Moringa and Spirulina most of all. Both of these foods are nutrient powerhouses to support your overall health.
- Moringa has been revered for its health benefits for thousands of years. Almost all of the plant is used, but the leaves and pods are the most nutrient-dense. Moringa leaves are great sources of protein, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Iron, Vitamin B12, Vitamin A, Magnesium and antioxidants such as quercetin. This nutrient concentration makes Moringa a great daily “multivitamin” for you and your family.
- Spirulina is one of the world’s most popular supplements, especially now that we have a beautiful, bold blue spirulina on offer as well! The strong colour of spirulina is representative of its potent antioxidant content. In just a single tablespoon of spirulina powder, you’ll be getting a good dose of protein (4g), Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, and even essential fatty acids (Omega 3 and Omega 6). Spirulina may be one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet!
VITAMIN C BOOSTERS
Acai Berry, Goji Berry & Camu Camu (Sour Berry) Berries are well known for their antioxidant content, but these three in particular are also packed with immune-boosting Vitamin C. Vitamin C plays many important roles in your health. It helps strengthen your immune system, and is needed for the production of collagen, a protein that supports your skin, bones, and muscles.
- Acai Berry powder contains 24% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin C. Using Acai Berry powder makes for the perfect Instagram-worthy smoothie bowl due to its gorgeous pink/purple colour. You’ll also be getting a fantastic dose of Vitamin A and fibre at the same time.
Zinc is a mineral we are all familiar with reaching for when facing the common cold. Not only is it important for the immune system, but Zinc is necessary for wound healing, blood clotting, thyroid health and much more.
- Goji Berries contain 30% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin C. These slightly tart berries are great to add to smoothies, trail mixes or your favourite granola for an additional crunch.
- With its slightly tart flavor, Camu Camu Berry powder can contain as much as 750% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin C per teaspoon, which is a massive dose! Camu Camu is another fantastic smoothie ingredient as you’ll only need a tiny amount for the Vitamin C benefit. Alongside this Vitamin C content, you’ll be getting a potent dose of antioxidants.
Omega 3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids mostly known for their anti-infl ammatory benefi ts. Omega 3 fatty acids are also potent modulators of the immune system and play an important role in overall brain health, skin health, bone health and much more.
Hemp Seeds contain 34% of your recommended daily intake of Zinc and are considered one of the richest food sources of Zinc. Not only do they boast this Zinc content, but they are one of the richest plant sources of alpha-linolenic acids (Omega 3 fatty acids). Hemp Seeds are especially important for vegans and vegetarians due to this Omega 3 content.
Chia Seeds, in our opinion, should be a staple in every pantry. These tiny seeds are loaded with nutrients that have important benefi ts for you brain and, in fact, your whole body. Chia seeds are low in calories, but contain an impressive dose of antioxidants, fi bre, protein, Omega 3 fatty acids, zinc and other micronutrients. With no distinctive fl avor chia seeds are easy to toss over any meal, be it hot or cold, to boost the nutrient content.
IMMUNE MODULATORS: MEDICINAL MUSHROOMS
Medicinal mushrooms are having their moment in the literature with a lot of research going into further understanding their health benefi ts. There are three main mushrooms taking the front seat right now: Chaga, Shiitake, and Maitake.
Chaga Mushrooms have been used for centuries throughout Asia as a way to boost the immune system and improve overall health. Chaga Mushrooms are low in calories, high in fi bre and packed with antioxidants. Preliminary studies have found that Chaga Mushrooms may improve immune health, decrease infl ammation, prevent and fi ght cancer, lower blood sugar levels, and reduce cholesterol.
Shiitake contain the highest Vitamin D content of all the Mushrooms, making them important for overall health. Shiitake Mushrooms are also low in calories and rich in many vitamins, minerals, and most importantly antioxidants. These antioxidants are important for improving heart health, as well as boosting the immune system.
Maitake, which means “dancing mushroom” in Japanese, is another antioxidant-rich mushroom to include in your diet. Maitake Mushrooms are rich in antioxidants, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, minerals, fi ber and amino acids. Most of the research into Maitake has centred on their antiviral and anti-aging properties, where they have had impressive results. Maitake Mushrooms may help treat and prevent cancer, lower cholesterol levels, improve blood sugar balance, and improve the overall functioning of the immune system.
The high vitamin, mineral and antioxidant content of superfoods can help your body to ward off disease and stay healthier for longer. Superfoods can be a fantastic alternative to taking a supplement, and the nutrients are often far better absorbed because they are in their natural bio-available form rather than processed into a tablet or capsule. There are a wide variety of superfoods available today to help you improve your immune system, but the ones mentioned above are a great place to start.
Lifestyle Centre, Ballito, 032 946 0441 www.lifestylehealth.co.za
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